Benson Wins at Homestead, Hornaday Takes the Title

Johnny Benson was able to win the battle for Bill Davis Racing at Homestead Miami Speedway but it was a broken hub on the No. 5 Toyota that cost them the war Benson’s teammate, Mike Skinner, rolled into southern Florida with the points lead but a series of unfortunate events allowed Ron Hornaday to claim the Craftsman Truck Series championship.

The 29-point margin marked the fourth closest in series history going into the series finale but there were just 26 laps in the books when Skinner took the first hit. As he led the field, Skinner felt a vibration and headed to pit road for fresh right side tires. That put Skinner one lap behind the leaders and to make matters worse, the crew could find nothing wrong with the tires that were removed.

The knockout blow to Skinner’s title hopes came on Lap 74 when the left rear wheel came off the truck just as he was slowing to make another pit stop. That sent the dejected driver to the garage for extensive repairs.

With Skinner all but out of the picture, all Hornaday had to do was stay out of trouble and get to the checkers. It was a mission that he easily accomplished with a seventh place finish.

While Skinner was busy logging laps to a disappointing 35th place finish, Benson was carrying the banner for Bill Davis Racing and Toyota, which was competing in its 100th Truck Series event. Benson even made it exciting on a green/white/checker restart with a last lap pass of Kyle Busch to score his fourth victory of the season “Kyle and I both spun the tires on the restart,” said Benson. “If it had gone green, I’m sure we would have finished second. But it didn’t go green and I was able to get by on the restart.”

Skinner, on the other hand, could only wonder what might have been.

“I guess a hub was coming apart,” Skinner lamented. “We changed right side tires and that didn’t fix it. It got worse and worse and finally came apart.”

Hornaday wrapped up his third career championship with his 22nd top 10 finish of the season. It is the first NASCAR championship for team owners Kevin and Delana Harvick.

“I hated to see that happen for Mike but only one of us could win this thing,” said Hornaday. “This is awesome. Coming to the racetrack with the kind of truck that we have every weekend. It comes down to great teams. No matter what happened today, it was just a great year.”